***The title of this post is "NIgella-Noelani"-since "Noelani is my real middle name and "Lani" is a shortened "Americanized" version, if you will, of it.***
Have you been hiding under a rock for the past 10 years? If so, then you have never heard of Nigella Lawson. The home cooker tv show host who is also a mother of three and cooks with beauty and passion. (She is 53 years old and could pass for 32!!) Just as as she is. A Jewish woman from England who craves anything Italian (like me, too--well, except I am from America and I am single with no children.) I relate to her passion and authenticity very much . See, I was never allowed in the kitchen as a little girl or teenager. My turn would come to learn to cook, my mom had said. My chores were setting the dining room table and doing the dishes. My older siblings were responsible for the cooking, specifically my older sister. Thus, once they left the home and got married-I was free to learn. However, I dreamed of going to a college prepatory "FAME"- like school, if you will. Thus, at 16-off I went to boarding school in California-leaving Hawaii and parents behind. Then there was college and then after college traveling and touring. Thus-I never had the passion or desire to work a kitchen. I was afraid of making mistakes. That all changed this past year, however. A dear friend of mine, who cooks all the time-encouraged me to start. Start? Where and when will I find the time amidst my three positions as a classical singer/performer, tv show host, and private voice teacher? He gave me the permission I had needed from myself-"Just start with one day a week-on your day off." Thus, I did. For the past three months. I shockingly enjoyed cooking-alone. When everyone was off to work. And it was just me and the kitchen. He has been my "guinea pig" if you will---graciously trying my dishes--many of them being my first attempt. Thus-this is a portion of the blog that is dedicated to the journey for singles like myself-who were never privy to the kitchen growing up and live on take out and such-because it's just us. You know what? I have discovered Nigella and she is further inspiring me to cook from my heart. (I baked, but never cooked.) Thus-thank you for reading and hopefully you will learn things along the way-like me. Dishes may or may not always turn out from inspired home cooker Nigella. Also-please note that I am not a chef-just a working single woman who loves to eat and create!
Introducing my "Nigella-Noelani Project:Dish 1-Italian ***Pasta with Meatballs
Ingredients for the pasta:
1) Very fine, Double O Flour-400 g
2) Eggs-4 (or 1 egg per 100 g of flour)
1) Pile flour on cutting board or waxed paper on countertop
2) Crete a dome-shape
3) Put eggs inside dome
4) Knead dough and egg mixture with the heel of your hands-working your bodyheat into the gluten and flour mixture as you knead dough into a big smooth ball.
5) Wrap dough ball with kitchenette towelette and place in fridge for 30 minutes (Note it can last up to three days in the fridge-before use.)
Ingredients for the Italian meatballs:
1) Defrosted meat -1 package (I placed unopened meat package from freezer and stored it in a dish in fridge the night before. Two hours before I used it to cook-I took it out of fridge and placed unopened defrosted meat on the counter.)
3) Garlic-1/8 of a clove grated
5) 2 cans of tomatoes or Prego Tomato Sauce
6) Olive oil lightly covered in a pan
7) Water-1 can
8) Salt & Pepper
9) Shredded bread crust-very finely grated-3 tsp
1) Knead meat, egg, grated garlic, salt, pepper, and shredded bread crust all together
2) Start a pan with 1 layer of Olive Oil on low heat
3) Make a tsp size of the meat into a meatball and place on a baking tray
4) When all 40 little meatballs are made-place in pan on medium-high heat and brown each side for a few minutes.
5) Add tomatoes or Prego tomato sauce
6) Add water
7) Add lots of salt
8) Add grated garlic
9) Add oregano
10) Add 2 bay leaves
11) Turn heat down to medium and let simmer, uncovered for 15 more minutes.
12) If need more seasoning-add a little parsley
Directions for Pasta:
1) Remove ball of dough from fridge and unwrap from towlette
2) Place on cutting board and cut with kitchen scissors or a knife-into little strips of long noodle-like pasta.
3) Place in pot of boiling water for 11 minutes on high
***Note the pasta ball didn't turn out as you you will by the picture below. What did I do wrong? I thought I followed the directions to a T. Hmm...it could have been the flour I used...it was just regular flour, not the very fine flour that was suggested ;-)*** Thus, I used the angelhair pasta from a box and placed in a pot of boiling water for 11 minutes.
This was a pie recipe that was introduced by a friend of mine when I used to live in Southern California. There, she shared this secret recipe with myself, and our other circle of friends. We all would take turns baking it-because it was super easy to make and bake! The taste is out of this world-not too sweet, but yet not too bitter. It will be gone in seconds if you bring this to work-trust me (smile). Now, I googled this recipe and found out that it wasn't such a secret after all-it's all over google! It's a southern Kentucky Derbie Pie recipe! Who knew? My friend was Chinese (wink), and she loved country music more than southern girls did!
Now during this Christmas season-we all need more time for cooking and baking goodies for our loved ones. Thus, this is made with love and very quickly! I hope you get yourself in a good Christmas southern style mood and try it out!
*Pie Shell-I made from scratch this time, for the first time! But all the other previous times I used a 9-inch unbaked ready to bake vanilla crust. Graham is okay-but try to stick with the vanilla if it's available.
Okay. Ready? Set. Here!
Kentucky Derbie Pie Recipe:
9-inch Pie Shell (from scratch or Vanilla crust pre-made)
Chopped Pecans-1 cup
Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips- 1 cup
Eggs-2 that are beaten
Vanilla extract-1 tsp
1) Melt butter in microwave for 15 seconds, let it cool
2) Mix Sugar & flour, with melted butter & beaten eggs in a large bowl
3) Add everything else
4) Mix it thoroughly with a flat utensil so that it's gooey for about 2-4 minutes
5) Pour into unbaked pie shell
6) Bake on 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes
*Pie Shell Recipe:
Sugar- 2 tsp
Vanilla- 1 tsp
Cold butter-8 tbsp ot 1 stick cut into pieces
Iced water-4-6 tbsp
1) Flour, salt, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl mixed with fingers for 5 minutes
2) Drizzle 4 tbsp of iced water until dough is set
3) Shape dough with hands on a countertop, into a flat disc and place in pie pan.
4) Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes
5) Use with this pie recipe
Voila! Cool it on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. No need to refigerate. Warning-if you take this to work-it will be gone super fast..from seconds to just under an hour. So be sure you get a slice, too! If it's for the next day, warm up a slice in microwave for 10 seconds and serve with vanilla iced cream. Drool!
The importance of having a talent and gift to share takes on immeasurable value when one starts to pass it down. These past few weekends have been exhausting but also rewarding when the final fruit of watching my students perform-flourish this past weekend in the Christmas Show. However, the pix below reveal much more:
I had been working non-stop for weeks and hadn't gone out with the girls for over three months! A night out was in order and what better way to spend it with a neighbor nearby? So off we went to an even and then I suggested a dance club, but stumbled upon this place instead. When we got there it was pretty empty as per usual on a weekday night in Hawaii. But after an hour or so, members of the Honolulu Symphony came and word got around that I was an opera singer, so you can guess the rest. From my seat, I sang Puccini's infamous, O mio babbino caro" from the opera, "Gianni Schicchi", with the symphony violinist. It was heaven to sing from a passionate place--my soul and spirit. Flowers followed along with drinks. I have the drinks away, but I kept the flower:) Pix of the violinist to follow soon.
This is a blog about nothing major-just everyday normal things. I will blog at least once a month (smile).